JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, said the decision by the Government to close 18 under-populated primary schools this year was to ensure that better opportunity is provided for the children attending those institutions.
  • Dr. McLean, who was speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (August 25), said a number of the schools were operating with very low levels of enrollment.
  • She said the Ministry of Education has a policy in place to guide the closure of schools.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, said the decision by the Government to close 18 under-populated primary schools this year was to ensure that better opportunity is provided for the children attending those institutions.

Dr. McLean, who was speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (August 25), said a number of the schools were operating with very low levels of enrollment.

“We had to group like three grades, from grades 1-3 and 4-6 …and can you imagine how difficult it is to be teaching students at grade 1 level and grade 3 at the same time, when the curriculum and the approach has to be different?,” said Dr. McLean.

She noted that the Ministry, therefore, had a responsibility to place those children in an environment where their full potential could be realised.

She said effort was made to ensure that children were placed in schools that are as close as possible to where they live.

“And, in instances where there are issues, we have arranged for transportation to be provided for those children and (the preparations) have been going very well so far,” Dr. McLean said.

As it relates to the relocation of the teachers, she informed that a voluntary redeployment process was undertaken where the teachers and other staff were engaged in identifying the schools they would want to be placed in based on their competencies.

Dr. McLean told JIS News that no school was closed without proper due process being followed.

She said the Ministry of Education has a policy in place to guide the closure of schools.

 

The three-year process involves analysis of the situation, sensitisation of key stakeholders, and gazetting the information so that the institutions can be removed from the list of public schools.

In the meantime, Dr. McLean said there has been a lot of interest in the use of the schools that have been closed. She said the Ministry will ensure that the plants are put to good use and are protected, with the help of the communities.